Tag: healthy

Back in the Pool

Today I am tired and sore but glad to be so.  As I was working on my diagnosis I didn’t want to muddle my chronic pain symptoms with exercise related pain so I held off of any hard training.  This means its been a few weeks since I did a serious swim- really since the QUAC swim.  QUAC was awesome but it was very tough to recover from.   I think because I was going through other stress and the gnawing pain in my ribcage (which in itself is a stressor) it made the recovery more difficult.

Anyway, I wanted to be able to tell my doctor for sure that the pain I was feeling was the chronic pain, not something from exercise.  Also with labs and doctors visits I had to be careful to get my work hours in and that left less time for exercising; however, after a promising week of results with  my thyroid medicine I felt like I was ready to get back to training. As much as I moan and groan about workouts I really do miss them when I can’t do them anymore.  Especially swimming.

Today I met with my swim coach for the first time in over a month (crazy how fast the time goes!).  He gave me a good workout- 1500 meters with intervals (250m fast, 250m slow, 200m fast, 200m slow…all the way down to 50m).  It was intense and my arms felt heavy but it was awesome!

Back in the pool! My face was so red after the workout. Something about these post-workout photos I love

There is something about diving into the water that I find so therapeutic.  There is a peace in the white noise of water that I love.  You can scream under water and nobody knows. I find the minute I dive in my mind becomes clear and the repetition of the strokes allows me to mull over the problems in my life.   Most importantly my body floats away, the pain with it.  I don’t feel like a heavy girl in the water.  I feel like I am flying!

It was great to get back in the water!  Tomorrow I meet with my trainer, thursday swim with my friends and Saturday I am taking boxing lessons!  I’m so excited about that!  Yes, I’ve always wanted to take boxing lessons!  There is a gym in Salt Lake that teaches boxing classes just for women.   http://www.boxingisforgirls.com. I think it will be awesome.  I took self defense at BYU and loved it. So, take notice and don’t tick me off in the future.  I will be trained! 🙂

I got my first bountiful basket this Saturday!  It was delicious! I’ve been enjoying the oranges this week and all the yummy vegetables.  I made corned beef and cabbage on Sunday and that was yummy (my fridge is now stuffed with crockpot meals I’ve made the last few weeks!).   Today I had a steak.  My mother can not make steak.  Cooks it to death.  Once I learned how to make it right I love it! Its expensive and high in calories but for an occasional indulgence Ok. Especially after my intense swim.  Don’t get too worried because with all my delicious veggies I made a massive salad to go with the steak!

There is something better about carefully selected produce.  You don’t really realize it until you try the good stuff and there is such a difference.  Yesterday I had dinner at Anna’s and she made ginger ice cream.  With the fresh grapefruit and orange sections the citrus and ginger combined well, creating a delicious dessert.

My friend Kate and I decided we will do the baskets every other week.  For $20 how can you go wrong?  (We split the box equaling $21.50 per person). This week they had special pineapples to order.  Hope they will have something like that next week.  Yum!

Victoza is Evil

Today marks day 10 of my type 2 diabetes treatment with the injected medicine called victoza.  If you can indulge me for a second I need to vent about how awful some of the side effects have been.  I have been lucky so far and responded well to the other medicines I’ve taken.  This was not the case with victoza.

To begin with I have no appetite at all for anything.  Everything looks and tastes gross.  While this might seem like a good thing, it really isn’t.  I also get full extremely quick- one apple will completely fill me up.  I feel nauseous most of the time and nothing seems to settle my stomach.  (Plus, I can’t eat any of the simple carbs that a sick stomach wants- such as saltines crackers or ginger ale).

Without being too graphic I have had vomiting and other gastrointestinal problems.  Not wanting to experience these side effects, I have become naturally hesitant with forcing myself to eat.

The most depressing side effect of all occurred yesterday.  As most of you know I love entertaining and had such a good time planning my party for the royal wedding.  Unfortunately I overdid it and felt awful yesterday.  I was truly miserable, in bed, all day.  I couldn’t eat and then when I did I immediately began retching. All day I was either in the bathroom or my bedroom.  I had a splitting head ache and my entire body hurt.  Sorry for the overshare but it was a terrible day. (I still haven’t eaten today.  I’m nervous to have a repeat of yesterday).

Most of all it was emotionally discouraging and spiritually testing.  I know God has His purpose behind these trials but I couldn’t help but ask Him some questions yesterday- When am I going to be back to myself?  When am I going to be able to lead a full life?  Will I ever be able to throw a party without being bedridden for 2 days?  Why is my body breaking down on me?  Will true health ever come? How come I seemed healthier at 313 then at 254? What’s the purpose behind all of this pain?

I wish I knew the answers to all these questions but I don’t.  I’m still searching but am also confident in God’s plan for me.  I know this will all make sense some day…

From everything I’ve read online about 1/3rd of victoza patients suffer from nausea and vomiting for the first month of treatment and then they adjust.  I don’t know if I can do this for a month. We will see.  It has helped me to lose a lot of weight fast (in 10 days lost nearly 10 lbs but I don’t know if that is from not eating anything or the meds!).   Surprisingly my sugars have not been noticeably lower (in the 90-110 range which is about what they were with just diet).

I have an appointment with my endocrinologist the first week of June and if I am still having these side effects then I may want to stop with the victoza.

Please say a prayer for me that I will begin to respond better.  I want to get back to my regular life so badly. It’s beyond frustrating. Who knew the road to health was so paved with peril?

Thanks to Megan for calling me yesterday- providing the one bright spot. Love you! The rest of my family has been in Europe for the last 2 weeks (I know tough life!) and I must say I’m excited for them to back.  Even though they don’t live in Utah I have missed their support over the phone during these tough weeks.  Poor Megan and Emily have had to absorb all of my venting! Thanks!

Evil Victoza

Two Successful Recipes

As I have mentioned in previous posts it has been hard for me to find successful PCOS friendly recipes.  In fact, most of my attempts have been unsuccessful and pretty much the last two months I’ve been living off of mojo bars, veggies, fruit and other nibbling.  However, as I keep trying I am slowly learning how to cook for my new body.  I’d say out of 10 meals I have one real success. When I do find something that works it is super exciting and I want to share it with the world- that’s where my blog comes in!

Here are two of my favorite recipes:

lamb burgers with sweet potato chips and spinach salad.

Lamb burgers with Sweet Potato Chips and Spinach Salad (adapted by me from the Low GI Guide to Living Well with PCOS by Jennie Brand-Miller)

Lamb Burgers

1 1/4 lb ground lamb extra lean

1 cup fresh Ezekial 4:9 bread crumbs

1/3 cup parsley finely chopped

1/3 cup fresh mint finely chopped

1 egg

1 clove garlic crushed

1/2 tsp olive oil

Sweet Potato Chips

2 lbs white sweet potatoes (if you haven’t tried these they are so good!)

1 tbsp olive oil

salt and freshly ground pepper

Spinach Salad

4 cups spinach leaves

12 cherry tomatoes

2 tbsp feta

agave based balsamic dressing

Preheat oven to 425 and line baking tray with spray.

To make chips place the sweet potato, olive oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl, and toss to coat.  Spread over lined trays in a single layer.  Bake for 45-50 minutes

Meanwhile, to make the burgers, place the ground lamb, bread crumbs, parsley, mint, egg, and garlic in a large bowl.  Use clean hands to mix until well combined.  Divide the mixture into six portions and shape into round patty.  Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the patties and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side, or until the meat is no longer pink and thermometer reads 160.

To make the spinach salad combine ingredients and toss with dressing.

Serve the burgers on a whole wheat or sprouted wheat roll with some lettuce, tomato, feta cheese and a little mayo.  I also dipped my chips in a little bit of organic ketchup which I surprisingly responded well too.  You could also use a little olive oil mayo and lemon juice or mayo and hot sauce.

Turkey sausage ragu over quinoa pasta- finally a pasta that tastes good!

Everyone knows I LOVE Italian food, and I have searched high and low for a good low GI pasta.  The wait is over!  This is my recipe and it is delicious.  I’m so excited!  This also makes a huge pot of food.  I will have leftovers for days!

Turkey sausage Ragu over Quinoa Pasta

3 Italian turkey sausage (Harmons makes a number of different kinds of sausages and turkey is leaner then pork).

1 large can of Italian plum tomatoes

button mushrooms quartered.

Frozen tri-color pepper blend (or fresh orange, green, red bell pepper)

1 small can tomato paste

1 box quinoa pasta any shape (I used macaroni)

Italian seasoning

Olive oil

Cook sausages in a little olive oil until barely pink.  Slice put back in pot.  Add tomatoes and crush with potato masher so it is chunky.  Add Italian seasoning, tomato paste, bell peppers and mushrooms.  Cook until sauce is slightly reduced and mushrooms are soft.

Follow package instructions for pasta.  You can then add the pasta directly to the sauce or keep it on the side.  A little Parmesan on the top would be good. Yum!!

This sausage and pepper mixture would also be good on a roll as an Italian hogie.

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Let me know what you think of these recipes.  I’m excited to be slowly finding things that taste good! I am developing a new relationship with food that will be better and more customized to my body then it used to be. Please share with me your recipes and product suggestions.  Thanks!!

Healthy Recipe Contest

Yesterday I went to my free trainer session at my gym.  Fortunately my trainer is awesome, thoughtful and understanding (she is a former overweight girl herself).  I felt great about our session until today when my entire body hurt- and when I say entire, I mean just that.  Unfortunately for me she gave me an assignment to replicate the work out every day except Sunday and then meet and report on Monday.  I’m not exaggerating when I say every muscle in my body revolted against mere movement today, let alone exercise.   However, knowing my body lies, I forced myself to the gym and did the routine.  Then I suffered 2o minutes on the exercise bike.  My face was red, my body ached like it was being tortured and I felt ready to pass out but I made it through.  Now I am writing this post full of ibuprofen and smelling strongly of bengay but I’m proud of myself.  I did it and it was really hard.

In an effort to NOT think about tomorrow’s exercise I have an exciting proposition.  Since I started to change my life, I have been trying different cookbooks on healthy eating from the library with limited success.  I did find one that had a cool recipe for pork chops with roasted grapes (sounds weird but it was great!) Most of the recipes have been either stuffed with lame substitutes (cool whip is no whip cream), or are completely lacking in flavor.

Here’s my idea…I am going to have a healthy recipe contest.  Anyone can enter by sending me a healthy recipe via email to smilingldsgirl@yahoo.com.  This can be baking, cooking, grilling whatever but please make it a recipe you have actually tried.  Do not simply google “healthy fried chicken recipe”.  I would particularly love recipes that mimic or satisfy cravings for comfort foods.  These recipes do not have to be “quick cooking foods”.  In fact the more ambitious the better! Some examples of healthy recipes I would love are:

fried chicken or chicken fingers

pancakes

spaghetti and meatballs (I would love a great healthy meatball recipe)

meatloaf

pizza/calzones

french toast (breakfast food in general is a real craving)

snack foods

fettuccine alfredo (Italian food would be great)

thanksgiving food (turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing etc)

chicken and noodles

chili and cornbread

grilled cheese and soup

thai food

lemon chicken

wheat bread/rolls

quesedilla (or other interesting latin food)

gourmet salads

homemade ice cream

cookies (chocolate chip are a favorite)

casseroles

curry

indian food

sushi

gourmet sandwiches

biscuits

pies (especially lemon meringue would be a thrill)

The recipes you send can be variations of traditional dishes.  (Such as lemon mirengue pudding instead of pie).  Please include the source for recipe if received from a cookbook or magazine (also add the nutritional information if it comes with).  I have a traditionally stocked kitchen with stick blender, blender, kitchenaid mixer,  food processor and george foreman grill.  I do not currently have a waffle iron or souffle pan.

Once I have tested the recipes (might take a while- sorry) I will declare a winner and he/she will receive:

$20 gift card to Williams Sonoma. (that’s right!  If there are 2 great recipes I may have a second place prize).

Instant fame with the recipe publication on my blog (I know its a big prize!)  🙂

Consider your efforts to send recipes as your piece in my eventual fitness puzzle.  Just think of it-  someday you can see the stunning skinny me and think “thank you, I had a part in that gorgeous woman!”  Seriously, it would be a big help and I am keenly grateful in advance.  Happy cooking!

The Only Happy FAT Woman in America

This is kind of a continuation on the last post but I was so angry  I just had to write about it.  Today I went to the gym and worked extra hard to burn off some of 2 pieces of pizza and a breadstick I ate for lunch. (Did I mention pizza/Italian food is my weakness?). Anyway, I decided to do 35 minutes on the exercise bike and then my usual swimming (ended up doing 25 min in the pool- 1 hour total one of my longest exercise sessions!).  As I was pushing myself on the bike I started to watch the Oprah show.  She was doing an episode profiling extreme weight loss with fitness guru Bob Greene (who I might add has a promotions deal with McDonalds….Strange?).  As I watched the program I found myself wanting to throw a shoe at the screen.  Once again the people were portrayed in the “before” section as practically less than human. One woman was so depressed she ordered a two tiered wedding cake and ate it all over 2 days.  Really? That hardly seems like an example most overweight women can relate to.  Most of us feel guilty for eating one piece of cake and work hard at frustratingly slow results.

Maybe these types of examples encourage  some people but it leaves me feeling depressed and angry.  All people have divine worth, fat or not, and just because you lose weight does not mean you will automatically feel better about yourself.  Why do no shows seem to get this? Why is great weight loss always proceeded by self-loathing and despair?  Why can’t we celebrate the accomplishment of great weight loss on its own without downgrading the original overweight person? Just once I’d like to see someone that found the inner strength to get healthy without all of the misery.   I guess this is why I’ve never responded to the show Biggest Loser.  I know many find it motivating but it always frustrates me.  I feel like they take the tough love concept too far and are overly-critical, degrading and even hateful. If you talked about other aspects of a persons appearance or personality  in the same manner that people talk about weight it would never be tolerated and would be labeled as hate speech.

I guess this is motivating for some people but not me.  In fact, when I was depressed and full of self-loathing at my old job I gained more weight than ever.  It wasn’t until I completed 3 years of healing (yes healing) that I decided I was happy enough to make a change.  The only show on TV that shows a little bit of this type of weight loss is Ruby on the Style Network.  While definitely having her issues, at least Ruby has some spunk and seems to be a happy person.  I haven’t watched it much but those are my initial impressions.

To all you network executives I’ve got a great idea for a show.  Take a happy over weight woman like me who is trying to lose weight and pair her with an unhappy teenage girl trying to lose weight and let them take the journey together.  Maybe that teenager will actually learn to love herself and not just get a makeover?  I think it would be great TV but what do I know.  I clearly have a very different personality than all the people inspired by Oprah’s program this afternoon.  Its tough to argue with Oprah’s success, but you think she would be more sympathetic to overweight individuals given her public struggles? (By the way, anyone considering having me on a TV show know this- I will not wear only a sports bra with shorts, or a 2 piece bathing suit on national television- glad that’s out there! :))

Oh well.  I suppose this is one more example of my exasperated cry- “Why won’t everyone behave the way I want them too!”.  Until that happens I think I’m going to stop watching these types of programs even if I have to find a new piece of equipment at the gym.   Otherwise, I might actually throw a shoe, which would be very bad!

sick, sick, sick

So, I have no energy to write a long note.  I just wanted to explain why it had been weeks since my last post.  I was away in California and despite the joy of seeing my family, it was a bit of a doomed trip.  There was one problem after another culminating by getting the flu on Friday.  Some how I made it back and have been going through one of the worst illnesses of my life. I’m not exaggerating.  My throat hurt SO bad.  I couldn’t breath, sleep or do anything else without severe pain.  I also had huge body aches with horrible fevers and chills.   Today is my first day that I felt some healing.  I still have a sore throat but not as bad as this weekend.

What does being this sick make a girl realize?  Well, a few things:

1.  There is nothing on TV during the day.

2. Following up on that, a DVD library really comes in handy during moments like these

3. When you can’t eat anything, everything looks delicious.

4. Being sick makes you grateful for little things like the ability to swallow, control your body temperature, and sleep regularly.

5. I have the BEST friends and family!  Thank you especially to Jim for picking up the slack as I’ve been sick, for Emilee Russell, Suzanna Graff, and Bonnie Denison bringing me groceries/medicine, and all the get well texts/calls/and messages

6.  Thank you to Sister Tait for taking me to the doctors on Friday.  If there was even a sliver of a chance I could have taken an antibiotic I was going to pursue that option.  I really appreciate her helping me.

7. I’m thankful for Brother Van Hoff, Spencer and Ben  for giving me a blessing Sunday.  I am so grateful for the power of God in my life and for worthy friends who are willing to serve.

8. Its amazing how with all the medical technology we have that there is no real treatment for illnesses like the one I have.   You just have to wait it out like in the old days.

9. I am so grateful my body has begun to heal.

10.  If anyone needs cough drops, lozenges, sore throat spray, or a variety of other meds…I’m your girl!

Here’s to getting better!

ps.  When everything was going bad on my trip I kept saying it could be worse…I’ve stopped saying that!

pps. Today I watched my Carey Grant movie collection.  He is the best!  His Girl Friday may be my new favorite movie.  I’d seen it before, but it made me smile extra wide this time, which given the circumstances was tough to do.

This actually looks a little like me!

Fast Food Pledge

I have mentioned on this blog about  my recent pledge to stop eating fast food.  What I didn’t explain is that I have made a commitment to myself that I will not eat any fast food for the entire summer.  For fast food I am including anything with a drive-up window and any of the national chains (McDonalds, Burger King, Wendys, In N’ Out and even Subway).  I am trying to change the way my body craves things.  I know that some of these places have healthier options but the problem is I seldom make those good choices.  I am weak and this challenge will hopefully make me strong.  I’m not saying I am never going out to eat but if I do it will be a rare sit down event- a special treat.  The one exception to this rule  is frozen yogurt as it is low in calories and delicious.

As I have told others about the challenge some have expressed interest in joining me!  This is very helpful. In fact, my friends Tiffany and Emilee have both agreed. We decided that as a reward for the entire summer we will do something fun like go to Lagoon (an amusement park in Utah that I’ve actually never been too).  It is a difficult challenge- especially for Tiffany as she is an at-home CNA.  It’s often surprising how much fast food we eat.  At least for me, I had no idea how frequently I ate it. By not eating fast food I am helping reduce my caloric, fat, salt and sugar intake.  Plus, I’m eating food that tastes good, made by hand.

In fact, today is a good example of the benefits of this challenge.  A few of my friends and I worked at our home in Alpine on the yard ( I hate that yard!  Its so labor-intensive, but you should have seen it after we were done.  Amazing!).  Following hours of weeding we were all ready for lunch.  In the past I would have gotten Subway but due to the challenge I had to think ahead and purchased everything for a simple grilled (turkey and regular) hot dog lunch with fresh strawberries, water and rice crispy treats (90 calories a treat.  Even though Tiff ate 5!).  It was a yummier, less expensive and healthier meal than fast food .

There are so many examples in the past month and half like today- moments where I would have gotten fast food but instead came up with another solution.  It has been great!  I would like to encourage all of you to join me in the “No Fast Food Pledge”.  The more support I have the better chance that I’ll succeed.  You will be healthier, save money and feel better.  I already can see a difference (even with my fatigue from exercising I can sense an improvement).   If someone can think of a clever way to do it perhaps we can think of some type of incentive for those that complete the challenge.  If you are in Utah you can join us for Lagoon or some place similar.

Good luck and join the challenge!  No fast food!

No More Fast Food!